Many of European golf’s biggest names gathered in Surrey for last week’s BMW PGA Championship and thankfully many of them have remained in Europe to add some real star power to this week’s Nordea Masters. Last week’s winner Alex Noren and the Open Champion Henrik Stenson lead the home contingent in the Swedish event and there will be plenty of intrigue about how Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood and Andy Sullivan go as well.
This year’s renewal of the Nordea Masters sees it return to Barsebäck Golf and Country Club for the first time in the best part of a decade. The club has two courses but only the Masters Course will be used. At 7,657 yards, the Masters Course is a bit of a brute but offers much more than just a challenge of distance.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what style of golf is required to go well at Barsebäck. The club’s own website describes the Masters Course as “an unbeatable combination of woodland, parkland and seaside holes.” There are plenty of holes framed by tall trees while others feel like they’re straight out of a links course. Therefore, it’s going to require quality skills of course management and planning alongside driving distance and confident putting to get to what is likely to be a low winning score.
Luiten Can Lead from the Front
Joost Luiten must look at Alex Noren’s remarkable climb up the world rankings with a mix of both envy and inspiration. Luiten has shown an ability to put together consistent runs of golf and, having not missed a cut since last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links, he could be the next European Tour player to climb the rankings. Luiten is capable of playing well in the wind, has plenty of power and could well make an early charge and lead from the front this week at 33/1 with Ladbrokes.
Taste of Success to Fire Colsaerts Up
Alex Noren’s remarkable final round at Wentworth last weekend rightly took all the headlines but he was not the only player to climb the leaderboard on Sunday. Nicolas Colsaerts played some brilliant golf culminating in rounds of 69 and 65 on the weekend. That was enough for the Belgian to grab a share of third place which he was rightly delighted about.
Colsaerts has missed too many cuts over the last year or so but he remains a player with enormous talent and desire to get back to winning ways. Having had the taste of the top of a leaderboard at Wentworth, Colsaerts will travel to Sweden fired up. He’s got the power to cope with the length of the Barsebäck course and looks good each way value at 55/1 with Bet365.
Westwood Can Start Well Again
There have never been any concerns about Lee Westwood’s ability to compete right at the top of world golf. The Englishman has been winning tournaments all over the globe since turning pro in 1993 and he is still incredibly competitive. The problem is, Westwood struggles to finish strongly enough to capitalise on solid starts. A three time winner of this event, Westwood should go well again this week but rather than backing him to win, have a bet on him to be the first round leader at 33/1 with Betfred.